Remember all the talk about smart guns several years ago?

More than a decade ago, the technology was being developed to have a gun owners' fingerprints “recognized” so that only he or she would be able to fire the weapon.

The New Jersey Legislature eventually passed a measure that called for smart gun technology to be built into all firearms sold in the Garden State no later than three years after the technology had been perfected. But the smart gun project came to a screeching halt because no gun manufacturer would agree to build a prototype.

Now a new effort is moving forward to advance smart guns in New Jersey.

State Sen. Loretta Weinberg, D-Bergen, says legislation will be considered in the next few months that would only require smart guns be offered for sale in gun shops once the technology has been perfected.

“Under the bill that’s in right now in both the Assembly and Senate, nobody has to buy it. It just have to be offered," she said.

She said this change is being made to protect retailers from pushback by the NRA and Second Amendment activists who objected to the notion that all firearms sold in New Jersey would eventually have to have smart gun technology built into the weapon or have the technology in a bracelet that would be worn by the gun owner.

She said in the measure that will soon be considered might include funding for entrepreneurs developing the tech.

A commission would be assembled of gun owners, technology experts and public health officials to look at different ways to finish and implement smart gun technology in firearms.

“There is no logical, rational reason for anybody to be against the development of this technology. When it’s available, it will make that firearm safer because only the authorized owner can use it," she said.

“Your 4-year-old can’t get hold of your gun and shoot his 3-year-old neighbor, as has happened in the state of New Jersey. Or a young man with mental health problems can’t get hold of daddy’s gun and go kill somebody else.”

You can contact reporter David Matthau at

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